It is perhaps a little surprising how few horror movies are set on Halloween. Scare flicks set during Christmas are relatively thick on the ground, by comparison. Yet, when a movie does combine the thrills of the genre with the atmosphere of the season, the result can be a heady cocktail indeed, and the perfect one to drink down as the nights lengthen toward Halloween itself. For my last week as guest manager, I had everyone on the team select movies that take place on or near Halloween night itself. From the jokey and family friendly to the outright gruesome, they’ve served up a killer combination, not all of which are even drawn from the long-running franchise kick-started by John Carpenter back in 1978.
– Orrin Grey, Skeleton
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Hocus Pocus is the kind of bad movie I’m always ready to enjoy around Halloween. Yes, it’s campy. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, it’s 90s as all get-out. But it’s also a fun time from beginning to end, despite being a Disney movie that opens on child murder.
Selected by Rob Lich (Rob Rich)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
It was always going to be Halloween 3. While the John Carpenter original is maybe the perfect movie to kick off a Halloween evening, and Trick ‘r Treat is my yearly go-to, Halloween 3 is maybe the weirdest Halloween-set horror flick ever committed to celluloid. From the bonkers script by an uncredited Nigel Kneale to frequent Carpenter collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace doing his best imitation of the master’s style, Halloween 3 makes us all long for the universe where we got the series of Halloween-themed anthology films that Carpenter and co. originally planned, rather than Michael Myers making his series of diminishing returns.
Selected by More In Graves (Orrin Grey)
Selected by the Pumpkin Prince (Phillip Russell)
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Does menstruation turn girls into horrifying monsters? Well, not in most cases but in Ginger Snaps the metaphor is clear and terrifying. Like many lycanthrope movies, it relies on a little bit of body horror and a whole lot of gore. But unlike a lot of modern so-called prestige horror, Ginger Snaps is more than just a metaphor – it’s also a tragic coming-of-age story that feels real.
Selected by Noahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (Noah Springer)
This is one of the few horror movies I’ve seen in the theater in the last 15 years. I don’t remember anything about it except being vaguely uncomfortable.
Selected by Ben Flay-er (Ben Sailer)
WNUF Halloween Special (2013)
Found footage can be a difficult thing to buy into. First and foremost, why are these people running around filming as the bodies pile up? WNUF solves this problem by setting the entire film as a Halloween broadcast for a small local news station as things go wrong very quickly. A short movie, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and has time-appropriate ad breaks.
Selected by Amanda Boo-gins (Amanda Hudgins)
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
This movie is one of the finest examples of all sorts of different categories. It is a brilliant anthology but it is a suburb movie that takes place on actual Halloween. Come for the weird gross pumpkin carving, stay for the cutie in the sack costume.
Selected by David “Deaditor-in Chief” Shimomura